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Yoga or Yoga Therapy Can Help You Live Free of Anxiety

November 15, 2018 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Yoga and yoga therapy can help you live free from anxiety. Yoga is a holistic anxiety treatment that nurtures the whole person so you can be anxiety-free.

Yoga and yoga therapy help people living with anxiety. In fact, you can live anxiety free by practicing yoga on your own or participating in yoga therapy. Sometimes, in trying to beat anxiety, we go after our anxiety symptoms. After all, the symptoms are how we experience anxiety in our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and actions. Taking actions to reduce the symptoms of anxiety can be quite helpful; however, it can be incomplete. Growing research is demonstrating that treatments that address the whole person, beyond just symptoms, can lead to a new anxiety-free life. Yoga and yoga therapy are holistic approaches to anxiety and overall wellbeing. 

Yoga and yoga therapy offer similar benefits to your mental health and ability to live free from anxiety. Let's explore yoga, yoga therapy, and the way the benefit anxiety. 

Yoga and Yoga Therapy for Anxiety

Yoga unites body, mind, and spirit to create balance and flow. It's physical, using a variety of movements to increase blood flow and the flow of energy in the body. It strengthens people mentally and physically. 

You can do yoga in the privacy of your own home using video guidance. Alternately, you can go to a gym or yoga studio and participate in group classes. Many different types of yoga exist, and any of them can help you rid yourself of anxiety as you create a lifestyle centered on wellbeing. No single type is better or worse for anxiety and general mental health. Personal preference and your physical health will guide you in choosing a specific type of yoga. 

Yoga at home or in a studio does increase mental health and wellbeing. When you are specifically targeting a problem like anxiety, though, more formal yoga therapy might be in order. 

Yoga therapy is lead by a certified yoga therapist listed with the International Association of Yoga Therapists.1 Like standard yoga, it unites mind and body. Yoga therapy involves slow, deep breathing, physical postures, and meditation. Therapists lead both group and individual sessions, placing people in one or the other according to what's best for them. By honoring where you are right now, yoga therapy respects your feelings of anxiety and works with them, not against them. 

Yoga's Benefits for Anxiety

Therapeutic yoga is structured to intentionally develop awareness and acceptance of anxiety in order to end the fight with it. Further, it hones a sense of calm and increases adaptability to stress and adversity to minimize anxious reactions. 

In The Ultimate Guide to Yoga Therapy,1 ThriveTalk captures the essence of this type of yoga very well:

As human beings, most of us are aware of our flaws, imperfections, and limits. Yoga therapy induces the power and energy to overcome them and transcend the human condition.

Through a yoga practice, in therapy or in our homes or in a studio, we can work with the oneness of mind and body to break free from anxiety. Yoga benefits anxiety in multiple ways:

  • Deep breathing increases blood flow to the brain and calms the nervous system.
  • Mindfulness pulls us out of anxious thinking and into what the body is doing in the moment.
  • It heals our stress-response systems and decreases anxiety.2
  • When done consistently, the positive effects of yoga become long-term and a way of life. 

Practicing yoga can bring both short- and long-term benefits, including eliminating anxiety and improving your life.

(Note: If you'd like to try yoga or yoga therapy, it's a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure it's the right fit for your body.)

Sources

  1. "The Ultimate Guide to Yoga Therapy". ThriveTalk. Accessed October 30, 2018.
  2. "Yoga for Anxiety and Depression". Harvard Health Publishing. Updated May 9,, 2018.

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2018, November 15). Yoga or Yoga Therapy Can Help You Live Free of Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2018/11/yoga-or-yoga-therapy-can-help-you-live-free-of-anxiety



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Dr Musli Ferati
says:
May, 2 2019 at 11:55 pm
Yoga or yoga therapy presents new therapeutic approach and complementary treatment of anxiety, which one derive from ancient medicine of India. Theirs benefits are still under scientific investigation and indifference from conventional medicine. However, yoga or yoga therapy have got many positive effects to our health condition, including its healing impact to anxiety. As it is known, anxiety exhibits common and unpleasant emotional disorder all over the world, particularly in western countries, where this complementary and alternative medicine is yet deprived and unapproved from medical establishment. But, its great and confirmed therapeutic effect, are sufficient reason to accept yoga or yoga therapy on satisfying treatment of anxiety. In addition, when it is known that conventional psychiatric medication of anxiety is accompanied with many dangerous side effects. So, it is necessary to take part in standard psychiatric treatment yoga or yoga therapy, as soon as possible, without any doubt and shyness, as well.
Lizanne Corbit
says:
November, 19 2018 at 5:50 pm
Wonderful, wonderful read. When we talk about mental things, like anxiety, it's of the utmost importance that we discuss the physical body as well. The mind-body connection is such an important one, and to overlook the connection is doing ourselves and our healing a disservice. Thank you for sharing!
November, 21 2018 at 6:26 pm
Hi Lizanne,
Thank you! We agree as usual. the mind and body are indeed one (Deepak Chopra calls in the bodymind). My morning yoga ritual has become very important and makes a tremendous difference in my entire day -- and in how I feel mentally and physically. Thanks for your insights for readers and for myself. :)

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